Support Tip of the Month: Networks

Today, a reliable and secure network is just as important as the computers attached to it.

While there have been significant improvements in wireless networks, we still only recommend the use of wired networks because their speed is more consistent and unauthorized access to your network requires physical access to your office.
Wireless networks may provide low startup cost but routinely have speed fluctuations and even outages that can interfere with office operations. These difficulties may be acceptable for less critical functions such as surfing the internet or reading email. However, database systems such as accounting and tax software require more dependable levels of service. A service outage while trying to open or save a tax return can result in lost or corrupted data.

Wired networks provide an inherent level of security since a hacker would need to enter your office and attach a cable to your router to gain access to your network and data. Today, there are cell phone apps that will allow a hacker to “crack” a wireless network from a nearby building or parking lot. Properly securing a wireless network requires insuring that the wireless router AND all of the computers using it are utilizing the highest level of encryption. Only the latest routers and Vista/Windows 7 are capable of using these enhanced security settings. Even a minor error in security settings on the router or computer(s) can leave the sensitive data of your clients exposed to hackers.

Each computer on the network should also have dependable security software (anti-virus, firewall, anti-spam, anti-spyware) installed. However, multiple firewalls, anti-virus, etc. can interfere with each other and other programs on your computer. Only one of each type of security software should be running on the computer. Security software which is installed but expired or needs activation should be removed if it is not going to be used. Portions of this software may still be active and cause problems.

If you have any questions or concerns about your network or security software, please call our help desk at 706.868.0985.